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Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy [Kindle Edition]

Joanna Macy , Chris Johnstone
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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“Books about social and ecological change too often leave out a vital component: how do we change ourselves so that we are strong enough to fully contribute to this great shift? Active Hope fills this gap beautifully, guiding readers on a journey of gratitude, grief, interconnection, and, ultimately, transformation.”
Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

“To the future beings of the twenty-second century, Active Hope might turn out to be the most important book written in the twenty-first.”
Bill Plotkin, author of Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul

“More than any book I’ve read, Active Hope shows us the true dimensions of this crisis, and the way our heart and actions can be part of the great turning toward healing. Please read this book and share it with others — for your own awakening, for our children, and for our future.”
Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Active Hope is a brilliant guide to sanity and love.”
Roshi Joan Halifax, abbot of the Upaya Zen Center

“If you have despaired for our world, and if you love life, Active Hope will be for you an extraordinary blessing.”
John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution

Active Hope is not just a book but a gateway to transformation.”
Jim Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable


The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society.


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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Macht Mut 7. Juli 2013
Von mandarb
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch folgt den Schritten der "Spirale": 1. Dankbarkeit, 2. den Schmerz um die Welt ehren, 3. mit neuen Augen sehen, 4. neues Handeln. mit dem Schwerpunkt auf 3. und 4.
Es gibt viele Denkanstöße, neue Sichtweisen, zwischendurch praktische Übungen. Hilfreich, um aus der "es ist ja eh schon alles egal"-Depression rauszukommen.
Es wäre sehr schön, wenn eine - hoffentlich bald erscheinende - deutsche Ausgabe in den Anhang auch deutsche Initiativen und Ressourcen aufnehmen würde. Denn in der vorliegenden Ausgabe sind die Angaben natürlich sehr USA-lastig.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Unbedingt zu empfehlen 16. Dezember 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ich war ja erst mal etwas skeptisch, da ich normalerweise nicht so auf Spiritualität stehe.
Doch ich muss sagen dieses Buch hilft mir echt weiter.
Es gibt mir Kraft um weiter die Welt zu verändern ohne daran zu verzweifeln wie groß die Probleme sind.
Es lohnt sich sich da mal drauf einzulassen, auch für politisch Aktive Menschen die eher rational unterwegs sind.
Denn sonst richten wir den Schmerz den wir nicht bearbeiten können gegen uns und unsere Mitmenschen.
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Wertvoll 7. Januar 2013
Von P.S.
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Leider gibt es das Buch bisher nur auf Englisch. Habe es noch nicht fertig gelesen, aber was ich bisher gelesen habe, ist eine große Hilfe um das Geschehen in der Welt besser zu verstehen
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  41 Rezensionen
48 von 49 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A watershed book... 5. März 2012
Von Barbara Ford - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This brilliant new offering from Chris Johnstone and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy transforms her previous wonderful work, the Work That Reconnects, into a highly accessible and inspiring philosophical ground to stand on as we weather the literal and metaphoric storms of our times. Well organized, and with lots of opportunities for creative personal inquiry, it offers a new way to think about and honor our concerns and love for the world. If you've been feeling overwhelmed, cynical, or despairing in the face of environmental crises, economic disparity, and injustice, this book will feel like a healing rain on parched earth.

This would be a particularly wonderful book to share in a book group as well!
53 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Crucial piece of work: hope as something you do, not something you have 8. März 2012
Von ManuArg - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Our identities (and, to a great extent, our destinies) are shaped by the story we, consciously or not, tell ourselves about the events in our lives, how we interpret them and how such interpretations make us behave. This makes sense in our personal lives -at least, it does for me and many, many people I know first hand-. This book shows that it is not only sensible but crucial to apply the same principle at the collective level- starting by ourselves, that is. For those of us who refuse to seek comfort in wishful thinking or ignore the increasingly obvious symptoms, cries and dangers of a system thrown out of balance, yet feel trapped into a sense of powerlessness and other painful emotions, this is a must-read.

As its authors contend, great revolutions start in the fringes. It shows a "third story": neither "we'll figure something out, just keep doing what you are doing" nor "we are already screwed, what is the point of anything?", but the very human ability to rise to the occasion and finally reach our collective adulthood as a "life-sustaining society", to use their words. I cannot yet say that I have become an optimist, at least not a full-time one. But maybe that is precisely the point -central in the book, to be sure-: is it only worth fighting for something we have good chances of succeeding at? What if we do not have a clue about the chances we actually have, what if we even KNOW that they are slim: does that make the very cause of making our world a place in which life is celebrated, and not exploited, not worth the effort?

I do not think so. As Frankl attests, even in the worst conceivable conditions, nobody can take away from me the freedom to choose my attitude and find meaning in my life. There is a phrase that has been popping a lot into my mind lately. Nando Parrado said it to Roberto Canessa, in 1972, when they made their last attempt to cross the Andes to Chile, 70 days after their plane crashed in the mountains, when almost everyone had given up on them: "If I die, I'm gonna die walking". This book is a priceless compass to do just that.

Just imagine what the world can be like if millions of us choose to acknowledge our pain, our fear, our ultimate freedom- and keep walking.
29 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A healthy dose of optimism 11. April 2012
Von Hrvoje Butkovic - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
How do we face the grim reality of the state of our world, with looming depletion of key resources, widespread ecological devastation, global climate change, and massive disparities in the distribution of wealth? How do we take on these problems without being overwhelmed by their sheer immensity? How do we marshal our energy, talents and skills for the betterment of our world knowing that we are not likely to succeed, and that it may, in fact, already be too late?

These are the central questions that the book tries to answer.

It is an unusual topic to grapple with. All the other books on the subject of environmental activism that I've read failed to mention it, instead devoting their time to facts and figures that left no doubt about the gravity of the situation, the ways of thinking that have brought us to the brink, and the changes that we'll have to make to dig ourselves out. This suggested an unspoken assumption that informing us about the crisis ought to be sufficient to prompt us to avert it.

My experience has been quite different. Despite being exposed to the problem through various media, I took no interest in it until my late twenties. Once I did, I found it just as difficult to get the attention of others. Some didn't consider it relevant - they had more pressing personal issues to attend to and goals to pursue. To my surprise, there were others who also avoided the subject despite having a fairly good grasp of its magnitude and severity. They felt powerless to do anything about it, so they chose to make the most of the present circumstances and not dwell on tomorrow.

When faced with the same dilemma, the authors of the book opted for a third course of action - to do what they can to bring about the Great Turning, no matter how seemingly insignificant their contribution may be. Depending on where one is in life, this can be a difficult decision to comprehend. While it looks self-evident to me now, I don't think I would have appreciated it when I was younger. It is for this reason that I'm exceedingly grateful to Joanna and Chris for tackling the subject. If the Great Turning is to happen, we will need many more people to take on the challenge of working towards it without expecting to see it realised in their lifetime.

The authors don't spend much time dwelling on the particulars of the global crises that we face, supplying just enough information to set the book's main topic in context. Still, the information that is provided, and particularly the ways in which it is visualised, is among the most stirring that I've seen. I have found it very difficult to read about the dream of leaving a barren, hostile world to our children to inherit, and not be moved to preserve its current life-giving qualities.

Perhaps the most importantly, the book does a great job of presenting alternatives to the dominant assumptions of the modern society. It illustrates how we commonly think of concepts like power and time, how these ingrained ideas have contributed to our predicament, and what alternative views can help us overcome it. Here, it is well complemented by John Broomfield's book Other Ways of Knowing: Recharting Our Future with Ageless Wisdom, which contains a more comprehensive analysis of our unidirectional concept of time and its alternatives, as well as Jack Reed's book The Next Evolution: A Blueprint for Transforming the Planet, which redefines wealth in terms of access to goods and services instead of exclusive consumption derived from their ownership. Noticing, let alone changing, the core assumptions that underpin one's worldview can be exceedingly difficult. This makes these insights all the more crucial.

On a more personal note, the book is a rich treasure of thought-provoking questions and other material that can be invaluable in a workshop setting. This is hardly surprising, considering that it has originated from a series of workshops that were conducted by Joanna over many years. I have found it tremendously useful in my own course work, as well as for personal reflection.
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Can we really tell ourselves the story we want to hear? 6. Februar 2013
Von Joyce MacRedmond - Veröffentlicht auf
There are three questions that I ask of this book; `what is it about, what can we learn from it and what do I think about it'?

What is `it' about? The book is about building our capacity, resilience and intention to act in the face of a world of uncertainty characterised by climate change, peak oil, overpopulation, water scarcity, habitat destruction, loss of top soil and rising toxin levels. The name Active Hope describes the practice that we can follow. This is based on the "Work that Reconnects" which as described below has four stages that circle in a spiral effect. Fundamental to the success of the practice is the narrative we tell ourselves which they note comes in three main forms; business as usual (more of the same will sort things out - head in the sand approach), it's a disaster/it's all too late (the climate is changing and there is nothing much we can do about it) or The Great Turning (this is an opportune time in history for us to change our way of living together on the planet). The later describes a kind of transition "from an industrial society committed to economic growth to a life-sustaining society committed to healing and recovery in the world" (p.5). The assumption here is that we can choose the narrative we tell ourselves and better we tell ourselves a narrative that will help sustain life in the future. The rest of the book then refers to the "empowerment process" that we can employ to strengthen our capacity to contribute to this great turning. There are four stages to this; coming from gratitude, honouring our pain for the world, seeing with new eyes and going forth". Central to this in a discussion on "widening circles of self" which begin with the individual, family/group, community, human society and web of life (p.90. Fig. 5). These are expanding wholes (or contexts) that we can operate from. At the heart of making this empowerment process work is also a "collaborative model of power", a power-with rather than power-over approach. Finally, the authors note that facilitating the great turning requires a "paradigm shift" in consciousness.

What can `we' learn from the book? Or perhaps another way of saying this is, `what does reading the book cause us to do'? The principle thing might be to cause us to update our information, improve our knowledge and turn our awareness to the changes that are going on around us. For instance from page 47, "More resources have been consumed in the last fifty years than in all of preceding human history". Also from page 55, " The carbon dioxide released when we burn fossil fuels puts back into the atmosphere the gas that ancient plants removed hundreds of millions of years ago. By burning fossil fuels we are reversing one of the planet's cooling mechanisms, and temperatures are rising". Page 213, that there is an annual loss in top soil equivalent to the size of Kentucky. Information, knowledge and awareness however are not enough, there also needs to be a transformation in our consciousness in order that new behaviours can emerge. This is discussed again in more detail in the final question. There follows here a brief introduction to the four stages in the "empowerment process" mentioned in the book;

Coming from gratitude. The authors note that starting with gratitude promotes a sense of well-being. It helps build trust and motivates us to act. It also shifts our attention from `what we lack' to `what we have'. Gratitude also helps the shift from "I to We" which is necessary for a collaborative approach to power, i.e., power-over (associated with the "I") to power-with (associated with the "We"). Crucially, gratitude is also seen as a "social emotion" that connects us with the important concept of "social capital".

Honouring our pain for the world raises questions around ways of noticing what's going wrong. Resistance to seeing include; I don't believe it's that dangerous, it isn't my role to sort this out, I don't want to stand out from the crowd, the information threatens my commercial or political interests, it is so upsetting that I prefer not to think about it, I feel paralyzed, I'm aware of the danger, but I don't know what to do, there is no point in doing anything, since it won't make any difference. Again, as we discuss below, a shift in consciousness is required here - until we get an emotional connection with the "web of life" we will find all sorts of ways of ignoring, resisting or indeed denying what is going on around us.

Seeing with new eyes is about using our imagination to engage the right-hemisphere of the brain (this is not exactly how they describe it, but it does equate with the left and right hemispheres of the brain as described by McGilchrist in his book The Master and His Emissary). They add, we tend to limit ourselves to seeing what is happening through what has already happened whereas seeing with new eyes reminds us to focus on the possibility of what can happen. (Note this may align with Scharmer's Theory U, "leaning into to the future to see what is coming down the line" and to Robert Fritz's "structural tension" i.e., creating a tension in the system between the reality of where we are and where we want to be"). This section also provides a very useful set of questions for identifying our goals and the kinds of resources needed to achieve them (p. 199).

Going forth reminds us that, "a crucial factor in any process of change is the level of support it receives". This is considered under four headings; the personal context of our habits and practices, the face-to-face context of the people around us, the cultural context of the society we are part of and the ecospiritual context of our connectedness with all of life. These four contexts map onto the "widening circles of self" mentioned earlier. Supports include; making `vows' to ourselves and others in a support group, mapping that support group and asking for help, joining with other like-minded groups and developing our eco-spiritual association to the `web of life. In the penultimate chapter they provide a useful map of factors that influence our energy and enthusiasm for change and in the final chapter make an important point that as the future is uncertain we can play some role in co-creating it. Such an appreciation of uncertainty can help galvinise us to act in the present in support of future goals.

What did I think of the book? I was asked to read this book and am delighted that I did. Good books raise many questions and this book raises a number of questions for me. These included questions in relation to the assumptions being made about the impending crisis (re climate change, peak oil, overpopulation, water scarcity, habitat destruction, loss of top soil and rising toxin levels) and the need for a paradigm shift in our thinking. I agree with the authors concerns about the impending crisis, but am less hopeful about our ability to transform our thinking sufficiently to support a change in our behaviour. It may seem like we choose the story we tell ourselves but more likely the story is chosen for us from our past thoughts, beliefs, feelings, self-images, defences and adaptations. As Keynes said "the problem is not with the new ideas but in getting rid of the old ones". Updating our information and knowledge helps but there is a much bigger problem when it comes to transforming our consciousness.

If the widening "circles of self" (described in ch.5) i.e., individual, family/group, community, human society, web of life, and the "four different contexts" (described in ch 11) i.e., the personal context, the face-to-face context, the cultural context of the society and the ecospiritual context of our connectedness to all are seen as "widening circles of consciousness" and are mapped onto to existing theories of adult development; ego-centric, ethnocentric, world-centric, kosmocentric, we can see more clearly the nature of the challenge facing each individual. As described in the book, the principle level of consciousness required to participate in The Great Turning is the eco-spiritual or connection to the "web of life" level, which in developmental theory, is equated with a kosmocentric (Alchemist) mindset (see table 1). This kosmocentric perspective includes all earlier levels of consciousness, i.e., a worldcentric, ethnocentric and ego-centric, but it doesn't work the other way around; an egocentric perspective doesn't include an ethnocentric, worldcentric or kosmocentric perspective. Also, as noted in the following table, most people operate from an egocentric or ethnocentric level of consciousness, a worldview and mindset that is unable to hold an ongoing connection to all of humanity (available at worldcentic) not to mention to all of creation (available at kosmocentric).


Individual self, Ego-centric, Opportunist, 4%
Family/group, Ethnocentric, Diplomat, 11%
Community, Ethnocentric, Expert/Achiever, 67%
Human society, Worldcentric, Individualist/Strategist, 16%
Web of life, Kosomcentric, Alchemist, 2%

Note also that these consciousness developmental stages are cross-referenced to levels of Spiritual intelligence (SQ) as described by Cindy Wiggelsworth, the highest stages of which are associated with the most "compassion and wisdom".

The challenge is, `how can we assist people to move up the developmental spiral'? I reference two of the leading researchers in the field of adult consciousness development (Prof. Bill Torbert and Prof Robert Kegan) both of whom highlight the difficult in "widening our circles of self", i.e., "widening our consciousness". Torbert (2000) notes that; "to sacrifice one action-logic [level of consciousness] for the possibility of another is inevitably a risky, scary, death-and-rebirth transformation" (p. 87). Kegan (1994) further adds that;

"If a given epistemological way of understanding is as robust and long-lived as my own research would suggest, then altering this kind of knowing cannot be as easy as teaching people to speak a foreign language. It inevitably involves separations from the self. It is more akin to teaching people to unspeak their native tongue, the language whose very rhythms and timbre carry with them powerful feelings of loyalty and identification". (p. 290)

Ken Wilber (author of Integral Spirituality and many other integral texts) says that unfortunately we may have to wait for the crisis to occur before we will make the change, which may of course be too late. As Samuel Johnson notes, "the chains of habit are to weak to be felt before they are too strong to be broken", in other words by the time we realize there is a problem it is too late to change. Similarly, John Harrison (a psychotherapist and author of Love Your Disease) says, that until the discomfort of where we are is greater than the fear of where we need to be, not much change is likely to occur.

How then, in the absence of the actual crisis itself, are we going to make the necessary transition in order that enough of us are ready for it when and if it comes? Wilber however adds a more hopeful note. He observes that when 10% of the world population get to this "web of life" level of consciousness (currently perhaps 2-4%), they can start to operate as a "tipping point" for the rest of society. Wilber adds that at current rates of development in awareness this may occur within a decade or so. In the meantime we work on gathering more information, improving our knowledge and through participation in empowerment processes such as "Work that Reconnects" continue to expand our awareness and our consciousness. In that process we gradually shift from knowing about the problem in theory to doing something about in practice.
29 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a book that gently stirs to action 2. April 2012
Von marian mcc - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This book got me moving towards some positive action for the well-being of all beings, after I had stalled because I felt everything was too hard and almost hopeless for our planet. i cannot recommend it highly enough for all people who want our planet, with its animals, trees, and all other life to not just survive but thrive. it is gentle and encouraging, and gives exercises that help us take the next step.
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